Make Room For The Stuttering

Archive for the ‘He Stutters Podcast’ Category

He-Stutters

It’s been a while since I hosted a conversation with a guy about stuttering. So, I’m delighted to bring you today’s show.

Episode 20 of the conversations with men who stutter features Oli Cheadle, who hails from South London, in the UK. Oli is a student at University College London, studying to be a speech language therapist. He enjoys music, playing the guitar and singing.

We discuss the speech therapy that Oli had as an adult that strongly impacted how he really feels about his stuttering. He has decided that he wants to work with people that stutter once he is qualified.

We also discuss Oli’s interest in mindfulness. He runs two blogs about mindfulness – about stuttering and walking. Oli describes what mindfulness is and how helpful it is to be more aware and get into the moment of stuttering when it happens. Oli is currently on a clinical placement with a speech therapist who is well known for using mindfulness in the UK.

Oli shares how he has been influenced by Ellen-Marie Silverman’s book Mindfulness & Stuttering: Using Eastern Strategies to Speak with Greater Ease. He also references a book titled Stammering Therapy from the Inside, for which his placement supervisor wrote a chapter.

This was a great conversation that only scratched the surface about mindfulness. We were both so amazed how quickly the time flew.

Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions. Feedback is a gift and is encouraged.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 19 features John Harrison, who “ran away from home at age 25.” He went from New York to California with nothing but a 5 day hotel reservation.

John wanted to go to California to find himself and his identity, and understand his stuttering, which took the form of silent blocks.

Listen in as we discuss how John found the National Stuttering Project (now the National Stuttering Association) and his involvment in the self help community over the years.

We also talk about how John came to see his stuttering as a system, which he details in his book “Redefining Stuttering: What The Struggle To Speak Is Really All About.” This is available as a free download on his website, HOLDING BACK: for people who stutter.

We also chat about Toastmasters, helping others and the richness of sharing our stories with each other.

Music used in this episode is credited to Dano Songs. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions. Feedback is a gift.

Episode 18 of the conversations with men features Ray Welchman, who hails from South Australia. Ray is a systems engineer in a defense company.

He also runs “Feel The Fear” workshops as a licensed trainer for Susan Jeffers training. Jeffers wrote the wonderful book Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway.

Listen in as we talk about different therapy experiences, the McGuire programme, avoidance, denial, hiding and so much more.

We talk about courage, growth and Toastmasters. Ray is the president of his Toastmasters club and and often finds himself privately exclaiming “look what I’m doing now.” Confidence and courage help us expand our comfort zones and grow.

Speaking of growth, see this video of Ray performing in a Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest.

This was a great conversation. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions. Feedback is a gift.

Music used in this episode is from DanoSongs.

Producer note: apologies for the abrupt beginning. Technical difficulties resulted in a few seconds of Ray’s introduction being “cut off.”

Episode 17 of the conversations with men who stutter features Robert Lucas, who hails from a small town in South Australia.

Robert worked for 26 years in the gas pipe lines industry. He had worked his way up to an Inspector, before retirement.

Robert shared how participating in engineering meetings was always tough for him. He dreaded introductions, and often manipulated others to attend and speak for him. He spent lots of time thinking about how he might manipulate others, including family. Manipulation is an interesting way to look at avoidance.

We talk about how Toastmasters and acting helped Robert become more comfortable and confident with his speech. He shares about the success he found by participating in the McGuire program.

We also enjoy quite a few laughs and talk about the importance of humor, expanding boundaries, advertising and reading other people’s minds.

It was a delight chatting with Robert. He has a terrific attitude and a wicked sense of humor. Please leave comments or questions. Feedback is a gift.

The music clip used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 16 features Geoff Johnston, who hails from Strathalbyn, South Australia. Geoff is presently the Regional Director for the McGuire program.

“There is so much more to stuttering than speech.” Geoff talks about how fears, anxieties and self-limiting beliefs are well addressed in the McGuire program and how satisfying it is to see people’s lives change. You can watch Geoff in action in this video.

Listen in as we chat about self-esteem, confidence, voluntary stuttering,  relapse, social anxiety and embracing speaking situations.

We also talk about having a “compelling reason to change” and the bravery and effort needed to maintain change.

Feel free to leave comments or questions for Geoff (or for me!) in the comment section.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 15 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Hanan Hurwitz, who hails from Ra’anana, Israel, via South Africa.

Hanan is an electrical engineer, and works for a company that makes server control equipment.

Hanan attended his first National Stuttering Association conference in 2010. We discuss the power of support and community and what a relief it is to realize that we are not alone.

Listen in to a rich conversation about Hanan’s journey, one which he describes as one of incremental steps.  He is excited about sharing his story, as it has been so valuable for him to hear others who have shared their stories.

We talk about avoidance, “mental gymnastics,” losing track of conversations, and talking about stuttering. One thing (among many) things that I loved in this conversation was when I asked Hanan if he does any advertising of his stutter.

His response: “People know I stutter because I stutter.”

Please leave comments for either of us in the comment section, or just let Hanan know what a great job he did. Feedback is a gift.

The music clip in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 14 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Grant Meredith, who hails from Victoria, Australia.

Grant works at the University of Ballarat, as a Lecturer in multimedia and gaming. He is also coordinator for introduction and welfare for first-year students.

Grant takes a very matter of fact approach to his stuttering, and will tell his students upfront that he stutters, and then never mentions it again. His expectation that stuttering is not an impediment cues others to follow his lead.

We have a great discussion about public speaking, and how stuttering can make us more lively, interesting speakers. And Grant makes a great analogy about how understanding stuttering is akin to learning a foreign language.

Listen in as we also discuss the expected reactions of listeners, positive attitude and mindset, perception, and being self aware.

This was a great conversation between two lively speakers and great communicators! Feel free to leave feedback for either of us.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is “The Living Physicist” by DanoSongs.

Episode 13 of this series of conversations with men who stutter features Ali Salem, who hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada via Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

Ali is a self-employed web specialist and free-lance photographer. Check out his site Almost a Whisper.

Stuttering has shaped his life in many positive ways, most importantly his appreciation of the little things that we often take for granted.

Listen in as we talk about emotional acceptance and the power of support. Ali gives a shout out to Stutter Social, and we also talk about looking forward to the upcoming National Stuttering Association conference.

Feel free to leave comments for either of us in the comment section. Feedback is a gift.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 12 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Lott Hughes, who hails from Temple, Texas. Lott served in the US Army for nine years and now works as an IT Specialist for the Veterans Administration.

Lott has a great story. As a tank driver in the Army, he felt that he was putting lives at risk when he was sometimes not able to communicate well.

His command sent him to a six-month intensive speech therapy program in Germany, which literally changed Lott’s life. It was there that he learned the fluency techniques that he needs to achieve his goal of 90-95% fluency.

Listen in as we discuss what has worked for him – facial muscle and breath control and handling his anxiety. Lott also got support from Toastmasters.

We talk about the upcoming NSA conference, and how his focus will differ than last year, his first time. Lott recently welcomed his first child into the world. He worries his son might stutter and wants to interact and learn from other parents.

I was happy that Lott shared his story with us, and look forward to meeting him in person at the 2012 NSA conference. Please feel free to leave comments or questions, for feedback is a gift.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 11 of the series of conversations with men who stutter features Frank Stechel, who hails from Highland Park, New Jersey. Frank worked for the New York State Education Department for over 30 years, in the vocational rehabilitation field.

Frank felt it was practical for him to work in the disability field, as he was concerned that he might not find work due to his stuttering. He felt it made sense to work for an agency that helped people with disabilities as they wouldn’t discriminate against him.

We talk about being open about stuttering, and how Frank always would bring it up and invite questions during job interviews. Being open has always been most important to Frank.

Listen in as we discuss different speech therapy experiences, including the Hollins fluency shaping program. Frank uses fluency shaping tools he learned to modify his stuttering. We also discuss the variability of stuttering and how he often plays with different techniques to this day.

I look forward to meeting Frank and his wife at the National Stuttering Association conference in July of this year. Feel free to leave comments and feedback for Frank, or just thank him for sharing his story.

Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 10 of the conversations with men who stutter features Landon Murray, who hails from New Orleans, LA. Landon is in school studying process engineering. He has also been the leader for the New Orleans chapter of the National Stuttering Association for the last two years.

Landon shares the story of how his fiance got him to go to his first stuttering support meeting and how that first meeting changed his life. He also talks about how he and she met!

We talk about confidence and self-image. Landon didn’t always have such an easy time, and shares how tough it was for him when he was younger. He also shares how he would sometimes “change himself” in order to fit in. And he shares about the “tons” of fights he’s had due to stuttering.

Listen in as we chat about dealing with being made fun of, educating others about stuttering, being comfortable in your own skin and acceptance.

Feel free to leave feedback in the comment section, or just let Landon know what a great job he did.

Credit for the music used in this episode goes to ccMixter.

(Producer note: There was background noise/echo in this track that I could not edit. However, the conversation with Landon was so great that I dropped my usual standards of perfection. As I’ve said in the past, sue me!)

Episode 9 of this series welcomes John Bombatch, who hails from Kettering, Ohio. John is married with one son and two dogs. He works as a journalist, which John considers unique for a person who stutters.

John has been a sports writer for 19 years, and just recently started a new “beat” as an education reporter, which is really different for him!

John shares how he discovered as a child that he could write really well. In 6th grade, he helped start a school newspaper. The rest is history.

We have a great conversation, with lots of laughs. Listen in as we talk about some experiences he has had interviewing people, and some interesting reactions.

John talks about how he manages being made fun of sometimes, and once when the table were turned, and it was thought he was making fun of Annie Glenn. His funny stories beautifully illustrate how useful humor is with managing stuttering.

We also discuss moments when John doesn’t stutter, interviewing skills and public speaking.  He discusses speech therapy, and a therapist who reminded him that people really want to hear what he has to say.

Please leave comments for John here, or just let him know what a great job he did. Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 8 of the conversations with men who stutter features Michael Callicutt, who hails from central North Carolina. He has been in St Louis, Missouri, his wife’s hometown, since last Fall. Micheal has been teaching band for seven years to students in grades 6 through high school.

Music has always been important to Micheal. He didn’t flourish academically in school until he joined band at age 10, when “all of a sudden, everything made sense.”  He knew then that music was his gift.

In college, Micheal actually started of with pre-dentistry classes, thinking he would not be able to support a family on a teaching salary. But he quickly learned that was not for him, and allowed himself to follow his music calling.

We discuss how stuttering impacted his college studies – he had a lot of self doubt and fears, worrying about completing the speaking aspects and teaching internships.

We also talk about how Michael almost never stutters in front of his students, interesting reactions from listeners, and true expressions of self.

Feel free to leave feedback or ask questions in the comment section of this blog. Let Micheal know what a great job he did!

Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 7 of the conversations with men who stutter features Jon Symons, who currently lives in Chaniá, (the island of Crete) Greece.  Jon is originally from The UK and worked in the oil drilling industry for over 30 years. His work in oil took him all over the world.

Jon recently inspired me to write a post called “Be Memorable!” Jon points out that stuttering makes us memorable, and that’s a good thing, especially in business. Any time we can be remembered, we can use that to our advantage.

We talk about the pros and cons of stuttering, and how we as stutterers need to be our best advocates.

Listen is as we chat about lessons learned, being fired, advocacy, differences and being bullied for being English! Yep, poor Jon was bullied not for stuttering, but for being a Brit!

We also discuss how our stuttering, and dealing with it, get easier with age. Take heed, young ones!

This was a great conversation filled with candor, wit and lots of laughter. It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from other peoples’ stories.

Please leave comments for us here, or just let Jon know how much you enjoyed his honesty. Especially about who wears the pants in the family!

Music for this episode is credited to ccMixter.

Episode 6 of this series of conversations features Zachary Sterkel, who hails from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Zachary is 26 years old and works as a lead baker, with a focus on pastry work.

Zachary and I met on a stuttering forum on-line and chatted on Skype soon after meeting. We quickly scheduled a date for him to share his story here.

Listen in as Zachary very candidly discusses how he once let stuttering limit him, and why it no longer does. He talks about not liking it when people are too nice to him. You have to listen – he describes it best, and I am sure all of us who stutter can relate to this.

We discuss the value of stuttering groups and sharing experiences. Relating with others who stutter has helped Zachary better understand his own stuttering and how his stuttering affects others and even influences their behavior. We also discuss confidence, courage and pink elephants.

I took the name of this episode from a photo that is front and center on Zachary’s Facebook page. These words are shown on the side of a building: “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

Please feel free to leave comments or questions for Zachary (or me!) Or just let Zachary know how impressed you were with his honesty, as I was.

Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.


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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2014.
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